Tulalip Tribes: preserving a living culture

TULALIP — Dana Posey, a lifelong Tulalip resident, watched from the edge of the Tulalip Amphitheatre as men on stage celebrated his history through dancing, music and storytelling.

Next to Posey sat a scale model of tiny, white buildings.

Saturday’s event, called the Tulalip Living History Festival, was organized to raise awareness of Tulalip culture. The event also helped raise money for the project represented by the small model — the planned $10 million Hibulb Cultural Center.

When the building is finished, the Tulalips will have a permanent museum to preserve their rich heritage.

“I’m just looking forward to the completion of the building, so our tribes’ story will continue to be told,” said Posey, 38.

The day-long living history event featured performances as well as arts and crafts. People displayed items such as hand-woven baskets, shining jewelry and pouches made of leather from tables around the amphitheater.

Tribal member Joy Lacy, 68, spent the day teaching people how to make small roses from narrow strips of moistened cedar. She previously made the cedar roses to hand out to people at funerals, to bring them comfort.

“We’re passing on what we know, and raising money for the museum,” said Lacy, who works with historical records for the Tulalip Tribes’ Cultural and Natural Resources Department. “It will preserve our history and artifacts for generations to come.”

Tribal members have waited more than 20 years for their new cultural center. The tribal government has already pledged $6 million toward the center and has secured a $1 million matching grant from the state.

The rest of the money will be raised through a capital campaign, which has yet to begin. Tribal leaders recently approved the creation of the Tulalip Foundation to handle fundraising for the cultural center and other future projects.

The first of the center’s three phases, a collection-curatorial facility, was completed this year.

The second phase is the $10 million cultural center, which will hold the tribes’ permanent collection and traveling exhibits. The center could be completed by 2009.

After completion of the second phase, the center’s Natural History Preserve is planned to be built on about 55 acres around the center.

Posey, who works for the Tulalip Tribes as a museum fund developer, said an art auction and golf event are being planned as fundraisers.

Like Saturday’s event, the new Hibulb Cultural Center would do more than help educate future generations of Tulalips, Posey said.

“It’s for people in all the surrounding communities to come and learn about Tulalip,” he said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

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